May 28, 1967 |
Los Angeles, CA. USA
The Marc "Mr. K" Germain show, 2007 Ask Mr KABC, 1997 - 2007Ask Mr KFI, 1992 - 1996
Marc Germain (born May 28, 1967), previously known as Mr. KFI, Mr. KABC or simply Mr. K, as well as being the former weekend/fill-in host on Doug McIntyre's Red Eye Radio show, is an American radio talk show host formerly broadcasting from Los Angeles, California. Now a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, he hosts his own internet radio show - The Marc Germain Show - usually two or three times a week on TalkRadioOne.com,
- 1 Biographical information
- 2 Evolution of his radio show
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Marc Germain grew up in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles (Tarzana and Woodland Hills), with the exception of a 6-year period between 1969–1975, when his family lived in San Diego near San Diego State University. He graduated from El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills.
He attended California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo for two years before transferring to the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), where he received a degree in Political Science in 1989.
His wife, playfully known on the air as “Mrs. Mister K," hails from Long Island, New York. The two met while both worked at KFI, a Los Angeles radio station. It was she who hired him at KFI, as Germain says: "she originally hired me as a weekend board op (operator); that is how I started at the bottom at that station." They have been married since July, 1992, and have a daughter and a son. In June 2010, Germain and his family left the Los Angeles area and relocated to Las Vegas, NV.
He is a fifth generation native of Los Angeles on his father's side. His father's ancestry traces back to the Alsace-Lorraine region of France; his mother's heritage is Russian. Germain once described his maternal grandmother as a "green-eyed Russian." His father was a well-respected journalism and English teacher for almost 20 years at University (”Uni”) High School in West Los Angeles.
Germain is the youngest of four sons. His brother Paul is an animation screenwriter and producer, best known for Rugrats, Recess, and Lloyd in Space; his brother Daniel is an attorney in Los Angeles; Gregory is an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University College of Law, where he specializes in taxation, commercial law & bankruptcy, and corporate law.
Germain’s first venture into radio came at the age of twelve in 1979. His father, wanting a hobby for each of his sons bought Germain a ham radio. Taking the amateur radio test twice, he was unable to pass the algebra content of the test due to his age (although he did pass the Morse code portion "which was very easy"). He was only able to use the radio to receive and not to transmit. However this was also the time of the citizens' band radio boom, so he obtained a citizens' band radio, and was able to acquire a license for that. As stated by Germain, he was mostly active on channel 19 and went by the handle of “King Cobra”.
While completing his degree at UCSB, Germain felt drawn to the business of talk radio. He told interviewer Matthew Gilbert: "it reached out of the radio and grabbed me by the shirt collar." Germain called local radio station KTMS and offered to do anything to get his foot in the door. At first he was rebuffed. He then discovered that there was an intern position available. On his third day of internship, he was offered a job "running the board." Within a year and a half, he was the assistant program director.
Germain returned to Los Angeles and landed a job at radio station KFI. He was a weekend board operator at first, then worked his way up to screener and then producer (for Stephanie Miller, Bill Press, former police chief Daryl Gates, among others). Then, as detailed in the section Genesis of His Signature Show, he started hosting his own show — Ask Mr. KFI. He was briefly appointed Interim Program Director, when David Hall left briefly to take the helm at KIRO Seattle. When KFI moved The Phil Hendrie Show into Germain's evening time slot in 1996, it offered him the overnight slot. He said no, and he left KFI.
In January 1997, after a 3-month, contractually mandated, non-competition period, he brought his show to KABC radio as Ask Mr. KABC. The show struggled the first few years: sports programming sometime cut his show to an hour, and often preempted it entirely. For several months in 1999, he co-hosted a morning show with Brian Whitman. According to a newspaper article by Sandy Wells, Germain could not wait to get back to an evening time slot.
Germain's show blossomed in March 2000 when KABC management expanded it to three hours, with the withdrawal of Stephanie Miller’s syndicated show from the lineup. Germain steadily built a following, and by 2006, each of his broadcasts was earning the 1st or 2nd highest rating in his time slot. Midway through 2006, KABC pushed the start of his show back an hour (to 10 pm) to make room for a syndicated show from New York, Mark Levin. In January 2007, KABC wanted to usurp yet another hour for Levin’s show. Germain balked at that proposal, described it as detrimental to his family, and parted company with KABC. Three weeks later, (March 5, 2007), he returned to the air on radio station KTLK.
On July 7, 2008 Germain launched Talk Radio One, an internet only "radio" show, using the moniker “Entertaining / Informative / Irreverent Talk Radio”. At first the shows were "Skype-cast" and he mainly talked to others around the world via Skype. When Skype ended that aspect of service on September 1, 2008, Germain switched to a model of guest interviews and segments with "The Gossip Mom", a news segment, and a weekly film review segment. Also provided was a "land-line" for callers to interact. In April 2009 his show evolved to what it is today - more of a round-robin group, off-the-wall conversation. His shows usually are about 60–90 minutes long and include as regular contributors: Dina Losito – Commentary; Sharon "The Gossip Mom" Reardon – Celebrity News, Regan Burns – Movie Reviews; Justin Levine – regular news; Rob Marinko – regular news; and Barry "Barry from Omaha" Whitsett.
In February 2010 Germain became a weekly guest host on Doug McIntyre Red Eye Radio on Saturday night / Sunday morning. It was heard nationally on stations through the Cumulus Media Networks. That show ended in December 2011.
- 1987–1989 KTMS, Santa Barbara: intern, board operator, assistant program director.
- 1989–1996 KFI, Los Angeles: producer, call-screener, on-air talk show host.
- 1997–2007 KABC, Los Angeles: on-air talk show host.
- 2007–2007 KTLK, Los Angeles: on-air talk show host.
- 2010–2011 Weekend and fill-in host on Doug McIntyre's Red Eye Radio
- 2008 – present. Founded Talk Radio One: talk show host.
Evolution of his radio show
Genesis of his signature show
Germain explained to the KABC audience his origination of his concept, in the following exchange, at 10:41 pm on November 28, 2006:
Caller: “Getting into the radio field, when did you decide not to have a screener?”
Mr. K: “Well, here’s the thing, before I was an on-air personality, I was a behind-the-scenes guy, and one of the things I did as a behind-the-scenes guy was screen calls, and people used to come and watch me screen ‘cause they thought it was pretty entertaining, so my idea was to host a show where I basically screen the calls live on the air.”
Caller: “Did they deter you from that?”
Mr. K: “Who?”
Caller: “Like you know, management, when you . . . ?”
Mr. K: “No, I pitched my boss at the time on the idea, and he said, all right, lets give it a shot, and he put me on at 2 in the morning on a Sunday, and figuring that if it blew up on the launch pad, no one would be the wiser for it – under the cover of darkness.”
Caller: “Any reason why more hosts don’t do that?”
Mr. K: “Because they can’t.”
Caller: “Meaning . . . a little deeper?”
Mr. K: “No, I don’t think they have the skills to do it, I think that most hosts have a lot of skeletons in their closets or issues that they don’t want to talk about. Most talk radio is issue-oriented, specific issue, here's the topic, we are going to talk about gays in the military for the next hour and if people were to call up and be off-topic, it would be distracting from their show, so if I did that kind of a show, and occasionally I do that kind of a show, ah, most hosts would need the crutch of a screener.”
The "Historical" version (1992 - 2007)
Germain’s signature format — from his very beginning as an on-air personality in 1992 — is Ask Mr. K***, where each caller asks a question of the host. Mr. K's slogan is "no guests, no topics, no screeners," to distinguish his program from the standard talk radio format. His trademark response to "how are you?" is "better than most, not as good as some."
He answers no sports-related questions, explaining that he was "born without the sports gene." Three other questions Mr. K won't accept, ostensibly because they've been asked so often that Mr. K fears his audience feels as weary of the three as he himself has grown to be: (1) "what is a Sig Alert?"; (2) "what is the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan?"; (3) "what are your views on the legalization of drugs?".
Beyond current events and everyday questions — just about anything is fair game — he professes a marked interest in cars, motorcycles, and computer technology.
Notwithstanding his primary format, Mr. K will sometimes present a guest. He initially justified such a guest as merely "hanging with Mr. K" (to preserve the format); later he regarded such sessions as brief hiatus from "Ask Mr. K": if in such a session he were to accept any questions or comments from callers at all, each would have to pertain to the subject under discussion with the guest. Among his more notable: in 1995 Mr. KFI hosted the very last interview of Wolfman Jack, and one of the last interviews with Milton Berle.
Dissolution of his relationship with KABC (February 2007)
Despite Germain's on-the-air observation that his show delivered the very highest ratings in the Greater Los Angeles radio demographics for the Midnight to 1:00 am period, as well as the 2nd highest ratings for the 10:00 pm to 12:00 am period, the radio station transmitted the following statement shortly after 10:00 pm Monday, February 12, 2007:
The following is a message from KABC Radio. The Mr. KABC program normally heard at this time will no longer be broadcast on Talk Radio 790, KABC. KABC Radio and Mr. KABC were unable to come to terms on a new contract, despite ongoing efforts on both sides to do so. KABC radio is grateful to Mr. KABC for his years of service and to his listeners for their support. Changes like this are never easy. KABC thanks Mr. KABC and we wish him well.
LA Observed reported that the difficulty was that KABC management wanted to add a second hour of the ABC-syndicated Mark Levin show, which would have pushed the highly rated Mr. KABC show to an 11 PM - 2 AM time slot, a situation which Mr. Germain found unacceptable.
"I came to the difficult decision to leave because of family considerations," Germain told LA Radio. "With two youngsters, the new proposed hours just didn’t work for our family. I am not yet 40 years old and I have a long career ahead of me. I have been a ratings and revenue winner working evenings at KABC and I have nothing but warm thoughts about the station and hopes for their continued success."
The Marc Germain Show on KTLK (March - December 2007)
In 2007, KTLK AM 1150 in Los Angeles announced that Germain would join its line up in the 3 pm - 7 pm timeslot, starting March 5, 2007.
The KTLK rendition of Germain's show incorporated aspects of the traditional talk radio format. These included: "News You Can't Use" — unusual news stories told with light-hearted banter between Germain and Lisa Goich, the wife of harmonica artist Teddy Andreadis, (introducing her as Germain's producer, sidekick, call screener and "woman about town"); what many might consider more frivolous topics — such as the Tuesday, March 6, 2007, hour-long topic, “Does Jesus love Osama Bin Laden”; more traditional interviews about topical, news-related events — as he did on the day of the Scooter Libby conviction; and finally, for the last hour of each show, his signature setting — Ask Mr. K, with its traditional motto of "no guests, no topics, no screeners," providing his audience an insider's seat at the side of the screener to the host, with "Mr. K" wearing both of those hats himself.
The KTLK show was canceled in December, 2007. The last show aired on December 21, 2007, with Germain saying he'll be back in January. However, KTLK has updated its web site to indicate that the show has been canceled.   on his Web site, Germain has said that he is seeking a new home for his show.
Marc Germain's Reported Return to the Airwaves of KABC
In an article in the Orange County (California) Register, Gary Lycan reported that "(KABC) Program Director Jack Silver is also making room in the line-up for familiar personalities Al Rantel, Marc Germain (formerly Mr. KABC), and Bob Brinker." The article was dated Published: Sept. 23, 2010, Updated: Sept. 24, 2010 1:42 p.m. Germain currently hosts a weekly overnight show, Red Eye Radio, on Saturday evenings, syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks.